Use of cursive writing declines

By Staff Writer
November 3, 2006

Nicholas Kowalski, a seventh grader at St. Charles Borromeo School in Drexel Hill, Pa., sits down at home to do his homework. Depending on what teacher he is doing homework for, he has to choose between printing his homework and writing it in cursive.

“My one teacher doesn’t care if we write our homework in cursive or not. The other one makes us do everything in cursive,” Kowalski said.

Children are not learning proper penmanship and cursive in primary school, resulting in college level students not using cursive. According to the Washington post, stacked up against teaching technology, foreign languages and the material on standardized tests, penmanship seems a relic.

“We started learning cursive in fourth grade. In fifth grade we had a little book and we never used it,” Kowalski said. “They could give me five hours of handwriting lessons a day and I still wouldn’t have good handwriting.”

When handwritten exams were introduced on the SAT exams for the class of 2006, just 15 percent of the almost 1.5 million students wrote their essays in cursive, according to the Washington Post.

There is more of a mixture in handwriting. There is not just two types of writing; people use both their printing skills along with their cursive skill.

“I think that is what makes peoples handwriting so different than everyone else’s. My teacher only writes in cursive and very easy to tell from anyone else’s,” Kowalski said.

“I usually print all the way through when I write something but I’ll loose focus and I’ll start doing cursive. I’ll catch myself and start printing again,” he said.

Another factor in the decline of penmanship is that technology has become so great, most schools rely on computers and typed material. “They usually want you to use longhand but computers are accepted,” Kowalski said.

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